Large Cent

The history of the United States Large Cent is a fascinating journey that spans from its inception in 1793 at the Philadelphia Mint to its ultimate transformation into the Flying Eagle Cent in 1856. Over this period of more than six decades, the Large Cent underwent numerous changes in design, composition, and size, reflecting the evolving artistic and technological landscape of the time. The story begins in 1793 when the first Large Cents were struck. Designed by Henry Voigt, these early Large Cents featured a classic Liberty portrait on the obverse, with a flowing bust and a simple wreath design on the reverse. The coins were made of pure copper and had a diameter of approximately 29 millimeters.

In 1794, the Large Cent underwent its first design modification. Robert Scot, a renowned engraver, created a more refined Liberty portrait for the obverse. The new design showcased a draped bust with flowing hair, a departure from the initial design. Additionally, the reverse saw an upgrade with a more detailed wreath and added lettering.

As time passed, the composition of the Large Cent also evolved. In 1795, the Mint began producing Large Cents with a higher copper content, which led to a reduction in their diameter. This change was intended to address issues related to the coin’s weight and size. In 1796, the design was once again altered, this time featuring a more mature Liberty portrait and a modified reverse wreath design.

In 1808, the Large Cent went through a significant transformation with the introduction of the “Classic Head” design, crafted by John Reich. This design featured a more mature portrayal of Liberty facing left, with a plain, beaded border on the obverse and a simpler wreath design on the reverse. The Classic Head design marked a distinct departure from the previous renditions and added a unique character to the Large Cent.